Hidden treasures

The Camel’s House in the Cannaregio district

Historical Curiosities
palazzo-mastelli

The Camel’s House in the Cannaregio district

If you take a walk in the Cannaregio district you might come across a camel, clearly not a camel in the flesh, but one depicted in a particular bas-relief placed on the facade of Palazzo Mastelli, commonly known precisely as the camel’s house. The peculiar representation - a man who leads a camel - seems to have originated from a romantic and equally doomed love story...

Legend has it that a wealthy Middle Eastern merchant, who was forced to leave his homeland to move to Venice, decided to have a camel carved on the facade of his new house in order to make it recognizable to the woman he loved, who had not agreed to marry him and follow him as his bride. In case she decided to join him, she would have easily found him. It is not known if the bride-to-be ever showed up at the rich merchant's house but one thing is certain: the palace was actually built by the Mastelli family around 1100. The three brothers, Rioba, Sandi and Afani, were silk and spices merchants who came to Venice from Morea to set up a business and it seems that their effigy was precisely a camel.

There is also another and more recent legend linked to the Mastelli palace: back in 1757 it was believed that the building was haunted by mischievous ghosts who, every day at the same time, rang all the bells of the house. As time passed, other and more frequent strange phenomena would happen: footstep sounds, windows opening and closing by themselves, shadows and broken mirrors... such was the fright that women fainted, strange evicting rituals were carried out and the inhabitants of the neighborhood ran away from the house...

Do you like ghost legends and other mysterious stories? Then don't miss the chance to discover what mysteries are hidden within the walls of Venetian palaces! On our portal you can find tours and activities that will be perfect for you!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Venice: What to see in the island of Burano

burano
Unknown places & works

The island of Burano is really a sight to behold and a great emotion for your heart: every year thousands of tourists venture into our ...

View

Venice: Discovering the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, what to see and how to reach it

isola_di_san_giorgio_maggiore
Unknown places & works

One of you may have had the chance to photograph, while travelling in Venice, the marvelous panorama in front of the historic St Mark...

View

Top posts

Padua: Why do people say ‘Rimanere in braghe di tela?’

pietra-del-vituperio
Historical Curiosities

Have you ever wondered where the popular expression ‘Rimanere in mutande’ o ‘Rimanere in braghe di tela’ comes from? It is a wa...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View

Venice: The Last Supper by Veronese at the Gallerie dell'Accademia

ultima-cena-veronese
Historical Curiosities

The twelve rooms of the Gallerie dell'Accademia host many works of art from the Veneto Region and the city of Venice made by renowned a...

View

Belluno: The mystery of the Pietrificatore from Sospirolo

pietrificatore
Mysteries & Legends

Nestled inside the Dolomiti National Park, in the province of Belluno lies the small village of Sospirolo. A peculiar man was born here...

View